Friday 24 February 2017

A Symbolic Analysis of "Monotony"

I hope you enjoy this, for those of you who are interested, the script I had in front of me is printed below.
So the extent of the feedback I’ve had on this one is that it didn’t work on one guy’s computer running 64-bit Windows, so if anyone watching this is running this so-called operating system, I would appreciate if you would try to run it and see if it works.

Also, regardless of what operating system you’re running, I would recommend that you play Homogeny and Monotony, the prequels to this game, and if you’re especially interested take a look at their associated symbolic analyses.

The game does open with the word “regret”, which directly follows on from the ending scene of Banality, which ends with the final title card “regret”. This is in reference to the central theme of Monotony, which is the character trying to reconnect with their estranged peers.

If you watched the symbolic analysis of Banality, you might recall that the bed represented the character’s comfort zone, which it still does in this game. The character is pressed against their bed, sort of symbolizing that they are trying to get back into their comfort zone – again referencing the idea of reconnecting and becoming “normal” again.

The character’s opening line is “If nothing else, Sisyphus was happy”. For those of you who don’t know who Sisyphus is, he was a mythological greek guy who was cursed to roll a boulder up a hill, only for it to roll back down, leading to the fairly popular phrase, “One must imagine Sisyphus happy”. The implication here is that despite the otherwise lack of real substantial content behind social activities, it’s easy to indulge in.

To be honest, I regret not making this area more clear in terms of direction- you are actually meant to touch the people in this one. Touching the people plays the reverse of the sequence in Banality, where the metaphorical representation of you is being raised up on a platform rather than descending. However, this time it breaks when you get to the top, and you fall down. This represents the idea that it’s impossible for the character to ever return to normalcy, and they fall back down despite their best efforts.

The term “desperation” as shown on the screen should be fairly straight-forward, it makes reference to the idea that the character is desperate to re-connect with the aforementioned estranged peers. Something I probably should have pointed out a bit of time ago- the character is intended to have strange or otherwise awkward speaking patterns, to sort of exemplify how they are so different from other people that they literally cannot relate to them even on the most basic terms of language. To be quite honest, “what a terrible purgatory” is totally flavour text.

This scene shows the character getting up from the platform, so obviously it’s implied that the player is now controlling the metaphorical representation of the character from the broken platform beforehand.

The character is then confronted with a button and door puzzle, like in Banality and Yet Another Puzzle Game. It’s meant to create the idea that the character is able to look at the things separating him from the other people, solve them easily, but still finds himself inexplicably distant from them when they start running after the door opens.

At this point, the other person has escaped and the character is left to find another route around the same obstacle, which in this case is over this building here. Also, the music at this point becomes somewhat glitchy and distorted, which again is mainly to convey the aesthetic that the character’s mental state isn’t good or orderly.

This next sequence is fairly dense in terms of meaning in that you have the title card with the word “quickly” repeated on it, the shaking screen and if you don’t pause then you will eventually come to the end of the background. The title card “quickly” is designed to create a sense of urgency that the character must continue to try to re-connect with people, the shaking screen represents the character’s unsteady or ineffectual effort to keep trying, and the short peak of the end of the background represents the idea that the character, in the process of their efforts, has seen things which do not make sense to them in the same sense that a three dimensional object doesn’t make sense to a two dimensional creature.

The character is not present at all in the bedroom sequence, which represents the idea that they have abandoned their comfort zone totally.

The title card “broken brilliance” is a term that has become so removed from its origin in my mind that there is no point trying to explain its origin, but it is in itself a fairly poetic concept. This will be left as an exercise to the viewer.

The colourful glitchy artifacts around the screen again represent things and concepts which don’t make sense to the character, and were never apparent or visible in their own “world”. The things they interact with would have never contained things like this, as demonstrated in the previous games being entirely monochromatic. This is linked with the term “broken brilliance”- the “game” is broken, but it’s worth it for the sake of its visual appeal.

The term “keep moving” is fairly direct in terms of meaning, it’s a direct instruction for the player to continue moving towards the end of the level.

The ending text is similarly very straight-forward in its meaning.

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Replacing Placeholder Assets - Pixel Art Timelapse

I made a silly time lapse video where I make some much better replacements for some of the placeholder assets I was using beforehand.

I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday 21 February 2017

A Symbolic Analysis of "Banality"

To the loyal readers of my blog, this post was originally created in video form. If you want to read the script to the video, you've come to the right place.

Watch the video here, but read the script below.


After another long while of either procrastinating, working on my latest project or doing literally anything else, I’ve finally put together a suitable analysis post for my game, Banality.

If you haven’t already, I would recommend taking a look at my previous post on Homogeny for some context on this one, though it isn’t necessarily vital. Additionally, you can download and play Banality for free, link is in the description.

The game opens with the character in their bedroom, but unlike as in Homogeny, they are not sitting on their bed. Where the bed represents the character’s comfort zone, the opening line “What now?” creates the idea that they are beginning to question things outside of their comfort zone.

The opening level bears a remarkable resemblance to my previous project, Yet Another Puzzle Game, which could be considered a prequel to the formative sequence displayed in the main trilogy. “Yet Another Puzzle Game” draws attention to the ephemeral and simplistic nature of things commonly heralded as “the standard” - the standard in this case being an incredibly simple puzzle. The same soundclip of me saying [puzzle] gets cut off and launches the character into the second level.

This is intended to symbolize the fact that after the events of Homogeny, the character can now realize that a button and a door laid side-by-side does not in fact constitute a challenging puzzle, and similarly, the things previously taken as entertaining are being outed as trivial.

The building in the second level is actually just to symbolize a social institution – perhaps a school would be fitting, as the other characters visible in the building represent two states of being. The first two are lethargically laying down as the player passes, while the last is standing up, but has their back turned to the exit and is looking down – they have no aspirations.

Pressing the “A” button to speak to any of these characters plays a short sequence of the main character on a platform being lowered into a kind of grave. They become less “alive” and more like the zombies that surround them, as shown by the greying of the character’s eyes. The sound effect – distorted noise – is designed to symbolize the total lack of meaning in anything being spoken between them.

The third level is somewhat more difficult. Even being near the other characters at this time will cause the grave sequence. This is to symbolize that as time goes on and the character moves further away from other people, becoming more stoic, they become more aware of the faults and imperfections and become even more repulsed by them.

There are three non-player characters in this level, each symbolizing three more states of being. The first one is stuck in a hole, to symbolize people who can’t – through no fault of their own – escape where they are now and achieve what they wan to achieve. The next most egregious form of bloody normie is, as detailed in the last level, those who are too lazy or unmotivated to achieve what they want to achieve.

The final character is laying prone under the ground, who has become too used to inactivity and sheer lack of creativity that they have lost the ability to achieve at all.

The word “regret” appears on the screen before the game exits. “Regret” in fact refers to the themes of the third game in the trilogy, Monotony. 


If you have done, thanks for reading. Only time will tell whether or not the symbolic analysis of Monotony is a video or in text. Stay tuned!

Monday 20 February 2017


Hello! As some of you may be aware, I immediately started work on a new project, Solasi, after finishing Monotony.

I'll outline what my project actually is for the lovely readers of my blog.

Solasi is a survival semi-horror game. The player is trapped in a surreal underground bunker, where food and water are not rare resources. The most valuable resource is instead your own sanity -- being trapped in total isolation only to grapple with your own horrifying nightmares is bound to be harmful.

There will be two phases to gameplay. The first of which is the "daytime", where the player may perform menial tasks to increase their statistics. These statistics come in useful come "nighttime", where the player must
fight monsters - be it either to protect themselves, for the sake of slaughter itself or to acquire a Nightmare Charm simple trinket.

I am currently totally infatuated with this concept - if I can successfully translate between my mind and this computer, I will have created something truly wonderful. So far, this translation is going exceptionally well.

Unfortunately, since I'm using almost exclusively place-holder assets(except for that sick bed), it's more difficult to visually show off the game.

Either way, definitely stay tuned.

Also, follow me to help my self-esteem. Thanks.

Thursday 16 February 2017

The final instalment in the trilogy, "Monotony", is released!

Hooray! After about a week of work, Monotony has been released. If you're interested in avant-garde art-y games, appreciative of some good atmosphere or just want a 5-minute experience to kill time - this game is for you.

You can download it below.

If you haven't already, I highly recommend you look into Monotony's predecessors for some fairly useful context.

You can download the first in the series, Homogeny, below.

And of course, the second game in the series can be downloaded below.

If you have done, thanks for following the development cycle of these games, and I hope you enjoy! Stay tuned.

Monday 13 February 2017

Discussing the themes of "Homogeny"

After a lot of actual game development/other writing/other things, the analysis post is here!

If you haven't already, you can download and play Homogeny for free right here.

A fairly notable focus of discussion is actually as to why I even decided to create this game. The answer is split between because I liked the art style after having created Yet Another Puzzle Game, and because I wanted to create a very art-centric game.

The latter was actually prompted by a few very "avant-garde" YouTube videos, and I got jealous of the fact that the medium of a YouTube video can be used in such a way. It was shortly afterwards that I realized I could probably do something pretty similar in a game, so I tried to do just that(minus the "horror" aspect, which was incidentally very present in the two I linked).

The themes in Homogeny are, as you may have guessed, not intended to be frivolous.

To sum it up in a single word, the game as a whole represents "realization", as I retroactively fit it into a three-part story centred around misanthropy -- but we'll come to that in a few posts' time.

The full script - i.e the correct answers - can be found here.

The first presentation wasn't particularly special in that the first few sentences were a little bit clunky, entirely unguided and not really intended to mean anything. The first sentence I put some thought into was "The future of this convention is concerning", which serves to set up what comes next.

I mentioned that this trilogy - and by extension, this game - is ultimately about misanthropy. This is manifested in the character's fairly inelegant suggestion to totally disband the convention -  the character is callous either to the possibility that others may take offence to this statement, or totally callous to it altogether.

The next presentation immediately starts immediately with a continuation the first presentation - a year ago in the game's universe. The lack of new material to discuss enforces the idea that the character, despite their arguably gauche attitude, is correct in what they are saying. They do not offer an apology, but instead passive-aggressively chastises the attendants for not following an instruction which he did not actually deliver.

A common trait of people living with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is to claim that they did say or do something which they did not, or vice versa. This is known as "gaslighting", and gaslighting is exactly what the character is doing here. Additionally, at no point does the character actually apologize, and in fact goes so far as to shift the blame by implying that their "intention" is something separate from themselves - but immediately claiming a much more amiable position of wanting to "inspire innovation".

The third and final presentation is fairly short. It consists of only a few sentences, in which the character does almost directly chastise the audience for not innovating, nor heeding his advice.

Though it's fairly insignificant, this is the place to mention it: In this paragraph, the character creates an excuse to scold the audience twice, by rephrasing their first sentence despite its almost identical meaning.

The character claims that they will not be attending any more conventions. The term "convention" in itself implies that it is normal or "conventional"heh to attend them. The character ends the first game with a perfect lead-in to the themes of the second game.

The penultimate thing to notice is the final sentence of each presentation - "Thank you for your time". It was intended to be perfectly carbon-copied between presentations to imply that the character does not find it easy to abide by social norms/pleasantries, but manages by way of rote memorization.

Perhaps that was a bit of a stretch. A lot of what I put into this game was never intended to be picked up on or realized, because simply put - people don't (and shouldn't) put in enough time to try to scrape this much meaning out of what is a fairly short body of text.

Either way, I hope you enjoyed reading this! If you have any alternate interpretations, even if they starkly contrast with what I've written here, I'd be interested to hear them.

If you have done, thank you for reading! Stay tuned for a similar post on "Banality" in a week or so!

Saturday 11 February 2017

It's release day for Banality!

The second game in the trilogy, Banality is the sequel to my prior game, Homogeny.

Banality is slightly more of a "walking simulator" than Homogeny, but it shares the same art style and central themes, as will my next project, named Monotony.

Banality is a very short game, with a grand total of 3 "levels".

Download it below, but more importantly, stay tuned for Monotony, the final instalment.

Wednesday 8 February 2017


It's been a while(approximately 5 days) since my last one of these!

I've been continuing to work on Banality. It's going to be very slightly longer than Homogeny, and I expect the third in the series is going to be longer still.

Here's a screenshot!

To give the fine readers of my blog a small hint, this is not a screen that you want to see.

Either way, I'm slowly getting better at using GIMP to create assets, as shown by the sick-as-hell little pulley thing in the screenshot above.

I'm more happy with the way that this game is going than I was with Homogeny. Homogeny was fine for what it was, though the UI could have done with some improvement, and I think it could have been a little bit more visually interesting.

While Banality isn't much more visually interesting, it is somewhat more polished, and does not suffer from the same UI issue as its predecessor. This is because there isn't actually any UI. Sorry.

Regardless, stay tuned for more soon. The whole game should be done in about a week. It is not a large project.

In any case, if you have done, thanks for reading!

P.S. I'm in the process of writing the explanation post for Homogeny's existence. I'm not sure how long it will take me, I need to make sure this expresses why I made it as accurately as possible.

Thursday 2 February 2017

The sequel to "Homogeny"

Some of you may be aware that I recently released the game "Homogeny", which a few people seemed to enjoy. Seeing as I have an inability to not constantly have a project running, I've got a sequel in progress, named "Banality".

Unsurprisingly, this is in the same vein and art style as its predecessor. Devoid of particularly interesting mechanics, but saturated in analytical value and artistic expression.


I was going to continue this post with an explanation of Homogeny's themes, maybe detailing some of my influences, maybe even an early screenshot of Banality.

I'll leave that for another day.

This post is now about my view on artistic expression in video games.

"Artistic Expression" in Video Games

Followers of my work might have realized by now that I am one of the strongest subscribers to the idea that video games are art, perhaps to a fault. 

I say "to a fault" because the games I have produced so far have been primarily walking simulators - not very marketable to most. Of course, games like Proteus or even Dear Esther have been successful, and to varying degrees have earned their successes. 

The games I have and will continue to create are saturated in cryptic interpretations and messages, some more obscure than others, as anyone who has played Homogeny or Yet Another Puzzle Game can attest to.

The question most worthy of debate, "How much of this avant-garde bullshit artistic saturation is too much?"

First, let's explore the term "artistic saturation" and what I mean by this. I am referring specifically to the kind of avant-garde bullshit cryptic messages and implications that are placed in certain video games.

A fairly popular example is that of Bloodborne, which is highly inspired by H.P Lovecraft's work, and unsurprisingly shares the theme of demonization of humanity. 

In Bloodborne, this is conveyed by the ways the beasthood curse is explored -- exact examples of this are left as an exercise to the reader, in part because I don't want to spend half of this post talking about Bloodborne and in part because I believe the game is best interpreted by the individual on a very personal basis.

The most interesting part of the question are the words "too much".

What exactly defines "too much" artistic saturation? Is it when the mechanics of the game are compromised for the art's sake?

Surely, the reverse situation is just as unacceptable - this leads us into a terrible paradox, where neither can coexist. 

Maybe it's not about compromise of other components of the game. Maybe it's instead about its accessibility to the players?

This comes down to the game's purpose. If the game is designed to be mass-marketable and should be accessible to its players, then this becomes a consideration. However, if the game is made by a small hobby indie team, it has no obligation to be mass-marketable, assuming they are not financially dependant on it. 

Ultimately, it seems that there is no such thing as "too much". What a pleasant result, given that the way I develop games is nearly Souls-like in the way it tells a story or narrative while rarely directly divulging information. It requires analytical thought and some imagination to create a story that can be truly enjoyed.

I suppose that what I'm trying to say is quite simply that I'm developing the Dark Souls of walking simulators.
^this is sarcastic

In any case, if you have done, thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more avant-garde bullshit interesting content.